Card counting is a strategy that can be applied to the card game of casino black jack, commonly referred to as ‘twenty-ones’. There are a great number of different tactics and methods used for card counting, and some people have refined such a skill, and developed such expertise at this strategy that they actually considered card counting to be their profession; for them it proves so successful that they are able to reap a sufficient income simply from casino card games. However, starting out as a card counter is an incredibly difficult process, and it is estimated that a beginner must dedicate a minimum of twenty hours, simply to become competent in the most basic card counting strategy, officially recognized at the Basic Strategy.
The basic principle of card counting is that by tracking the movement of the cards in a black jack game, a player is able to judge the best times to raise their bets, and thus improve the scale of their winnings. Card counting is a common feature of Hollywood films, with the underdog winning hundreds of thousands of dollars from the big casino corporations; in reality card counting does not enhance winning probabilities to this extent, but it certainly does improve the standing of a black jack player against the house. Using card counting, a player is able to trace the relationship between the higher value and lower value cards (lower value cards usually being considered anything less than a five).
This relationship is important, since it is the higher value cards which are more beneficial to the player, and place them in a more advantageous situation, above the house or dealer. Lower value cards are better for the dealer simply because they must ‘hit’, or pull another card to the hand, if they hold cards to the value of 17 or less. With lower value cards they are less likely to go ‘bust’ or have cards exceeding a total of 21.When the player has determined that the higher value cards are in a much higher number within the remaining cards, it is obviously more likely that the dealer will go bust, and so the player will choose to raise their bet accordingly. Having mastered the basic card counting principles, perhaps the most important stage of the card counting process is actually learning to cope with the casino distractions. It is one thing learning to card count in the quiet environment of your home, and then being submerged in the real life distractions of the casino itself.
There are understandably a huge amount of distractions, from the banter of the dealer themselves, to the general hustle and bustle going on around the black jack table, Concentration is key when counting cards, because to miss one trick could mean that you stand to lose a considerable amount of money. Furthermore most professional card counters advise that a player works out an ‘act’ to accompany their game. Players who look like they know what they are doing, and who therefore come across as over confident are instantly recognizable and arouse much suspicion within the casino and gambling trade. Obviously card counting requires your attention 100% of the time, for the whole duration on the game, and this means that you are required to create idle chit chat with fellow players and the dealer, whilst simultaneously practicing the skill that is card counting. For this reason, professional card counter take many years and many hours of practice to perfect their skills at the card table. Card Counting, therefore requires an incredible amount of dedication if a player wishes to reap the real benefits of this gambling strategy.